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The Greater of Two Evils
Released: 2004, Sanctuary
It’s odd. A band with such reputation as Anthrax and yet they seem to get very little support on this site. We have reviewed only three Anthrax releases in 10 years and three of those four reviews were mine. Additionally, I think Anthrax is a very average band and I have given very average (or below average) grades to the previous releases.
Unfortunately, this latest offering by the band does little to impress or inspire me.
The band has chosen to re-record some older songs. Fair enough, several other bands have done it, nothing new. The fans got to help choose what songs made the cut, also good but nothing new. I think the problem with the band for the last decade, is the revolving door lineup, and let’s face it, John Bush. I just don’t like anything he has done with Anthrax and for the most part neither have the fans, with each CD since he joined consistently selling less than the previous one. To my ears, he just isn’t as good a singer as Belladonna.
So we get 14 tracks re-recorded, in the more modern style, which I don’t really like. The highs aren’t as high, the lows aren’t as low, the guitar tone murky and dull, the drums thin… the whole bit. The cover is dull and boring. The track-listing is awesome but begs the question, why? Why mess with good songs? I don’t like Bush as much as Belladonna, or even Turbin so there is no point in my mind in having the weaker, less popular singer mess with the classics. Benante can’t really keep pace like the old days either…the driving frantic edge of most of these songs originally possessed are gone.
This whole thing seems to be a weak attempt to recapture the glory days. It’s just another example of a band on it’s last legs. I still have enough respect for the band to believe this is not a lame cash grab. I think they are very sincere in their attempts in what they do but have fundamentally drifted leaving a schism between what they like to do and what the fans want. They have become trapped by their own early success and perhaps should even be congratulated for doing what ‘they’ want, not the fans wants. However, I’m just not on board.
The following quote is the opening paragraph from my review of the Live Anthrax CD from last July. My comment still holds firm today as it did six months ago.
“Anthrax, despite slightly improved fortunes with the jump to a supportive label, still drifts, directionless and lacking focus. In the last few years we have had a re-issue, a poorly received studio record, a live record, and soon a re-recording of older tunes. They really, truly need to get their head out of their asses and kick out a killer metal record.”
C’mon Anthrax it’s do or die time. The next CD better be good or the long suffering metal fans will continue to abandon the band in droves to the point where the band becomes a parody of themselves, and end up playing ‘Indians’ for the 1000th time for the die-hard retro crowd, in small bars across America just to survive between day jobs. If Exodus made an amazing comeback, and deliver a CD the fans wanted so can Anthrax.
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